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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Margin Call

My brief flirtation with "status goods" has run into the sands. I have to admit that my recent, some would say  unnecessary and wanton, purchase of a new iPhone 5S belies that, but in truth I no longer feel the urge to get up close and personal to a Rolex or a Paul Smith suit.

There's no high moral motive behind this change of heart. I'm simply bored. Goggling mindlessly at Bond Street shop windows or traipsing round High Street Kensington watching all the high rollers flashing their snow white gnashers and their jewel encrusted fingers is tiring. Lusting is hard work, it's exhausting and so unsatisfying.

The principle cause of my disenchantment is my inability or reluctance to fork out to own any of these "desirable" consumables. A year ago I literally ached wanting to own a really expensive watch: I'd even set myself a savings plan to save £5,000 to buy a Bremont. Everyday I'd scan the images of watches on the net, read about the latest exhibition and products or go from one watch shop to the next trying to satisfy my yearning.

I'd go to Harrods or Selfridges and visit the exclusive clothes brands on display: Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Westwood, Koo. I'd wander in a daze in and out of their displays fearful to ask the price, desperate to own a piece of the status they promised.

I went into an Armani shop recently: I needed a suit for my mate's wedding. I had in my head that I could fork out around £600 on a suit - well it was a special occasion. I was shown quite a lot of schmutter around that price point. None of it seemed to match my fantasy. I'd look at the suit, look at the price tag and at me in the mirror. I felt like mutton dressed up as lamb - I wasn't kosher. I wasn't made to have expensive cloth hanging off my shoulders. I ended up with a £200, Italian job from M&S. I was comfortable wearing that and I thought I looked good in it. I'm not sure an outlay of an extra £400 would have had any greater impact.

There is something to be said for owning a beautifully crafted object. An intricate watch mechanism, created by craftsmen. But in truth owning one of those requires mega bucks. It is nice to be able to afford something that isn't run of the mill, that isn't knocked out in the hundreds of thousands by the Chinese: like my iPhone. But I realise that I have little in common with those who can afford to splash out on "status goods"- the least being my inability to match their spending power.

I should take comfort in being able to spend a few hundred pounds on one item without worrying and very occasionally treating friends to a meal and not be concerned about the cost.

I should thank my lucky stars that we are home owning and mortgage free, drive a 8 year old car and have money to put away at the end of the month.

I suppose it's about being comfortable with yourself. Being comfortable financially helps. Why strain to move out of your comfort zone?


Steve said...

An object's worth is determined by the happiness it gives us not by the price tag that current fashions place upon it.

Wow. That almost sounded wise.

Barry Coidan said...

Couldn't agree more, Steve. Happiness is a warm gun?

Jack the Hat said...

Money is the root of all evil as Reggie told me many years ago.He should have known the evil barsteward that he was!